• Walkway Over the Hudson - Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge

  • General discussion related to Rail Trails nationwide, including proposed rail trail routes. The official site of the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy can be found here: www.railstotrails.org.
General discussion related to Rail Trails nationwide, including proposed rail trail routes. The official site of the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy can be found here: www.railstotrails.org.

Moderator: railtrailbiker

  by DonPevsner
Are the concrete "Walkway" slabs laid right up to the western end of the Bridge, to level ground just east of the Central Hudson substation, or were they only laid part-way so as to leave exposed western viaduct girders joining that level ground?
They come right to the level ground
  by DonPevsner
(1)On July 21, 2010, NYS Governor David Paterson finally signed June, 2010 legislation that directs the New York State Bridge Authority to take title to the entire 6,767-foot-long Poughkeepsie Bridge, including both the eastern and western approach viaducts (iron) and the overwater portion (steel).This excellently-worded legislation does not create any discretionary opt-out by the Bridge Authority, so NYSBA must comply.

(2)The original legislative bills were introduced by Assemblyman Frank Skartados (D.-Milton) and--five months later--Senator Jose Serrano (D.-The Bronx). None of the Dutchess County Senators could be bothered to lift a finger.

(3)The Bridge Authority is now working on getting its "paperwork" burden completed, with a goal of taking title to the entire Bridge by the end of CY2010. Its spearhead is the dedicated NYSBA executive, John Bellucci, whose office is located at the toll plaza for the Mid-Hudson highway bridge, in Highland, NY. NYSBA now owns and operates six highway bridges (see list below) across the Hudson, with ample liability insurance and "deep-pockets" maintenance and overhaul resources. Its bridge engineering firm is world-famous Modjewski and Masters, which routinely inspected and repaired the NYNH&H Poughkeepsie (railroad) Bridge for many decades and which will do a long-overdue new bridge inspection as soon as NYSBA can take title to it all.

(a)Bear Mountain Bridge (originally built privately by the Harriman family)

(b)+(c)Beacon-Newburgh Bridge (2 separate bridges on I-84)

(d)Mid-Hudson Bridge (Poughkeepsie to Highland)

(e)Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge (north of both points)

(f)Rip Van Winkle Bridge (Catskill area to Hudson area)

(4)In the interim:

(a)The Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge Company, Inc., the New York nonprofit corporation of the "Walkway Over The Hudson" volunteer group, conveyed title to the eastern approach viaduct-only to the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, State of New York, shortly after the October 3, 2009 grand-opening. NYS Parks must now convey this portion of the Bridge to the New York State Bridge Authority. (SOURCE: Erik Kulleseid, Director: Open Space Preservation, NYS OPRHP, by email to this writer dated October 15, 2009.)

(b)Until such time as the Bridge Authority can legally accept title to the rest of the Bridge from the Walkway corporation, there is little or no liability insurance on the structure west of the eastern shore of the Hudson River, and no maintenance guarantees by any New York State entity with the "deep pockets" necessary to properly maintain this 121-year-old structure. Indeed, the entire Bridge has lacked most, if not all, liability insurance, as well as routine maintenance, from October 2, 1984 (when CONRAIL sold it for one dollar to Gordon Schreiber Miller, a convicted felon from suburban Philadelphia) to the present date, excepting only Walkway construction in CY2009. Incredibly, the Walkway Group acquired the Bridge from Gordon Schreiber Miller's successor, Vito Moreno, in June, 1998, and has "gone bare" on most (if not all) liability insurance, as well as necessary maintenance, for 12 long years at this writing. It is difficult to imagine a more potentially-destructive action by an organization that has allegedly been acting in the public interest. Its Board of Directors had better pray that nothing drastic befalls the Poughkeepsie Bridge under their "stewardship" until NYSBA can take formal title to it all. (Google "Kinzua Bridge" to find the Wikipedia article on that similar structure's 30-second-long toppling by a tornado, in CY2003.)

(5)SEE the Wikipedia article on the Poughkeepsie Bridge: find it by Googling "Poughkeesie Bridge".
  by Dick H
Where is this material taken from? Reference needed....
  by DonPevsner
All material is documented in the "Footnotes" section of the Wikipedia article. To save you the trouble of looking it up, everything was reported in the POUGHKEEPSIE JOURNAL except my telephone conversations with John R. Bellucci, Director of Operations, New York State Bridge Authority, on July 26, 2010, and an early June, 2010 telephone conversation with Assemblyman Frank Skartados (D.-Milton). The Bellucci conversation is also footnoted.
  by DonPevsner
The world-famous bridge engineering firm retained by the New York State Bridge Authority is Modjeski and Masters (not "Modjewski and Masters").
It goes back to 1893, under co-founder Ralph Modjeski, and is a titan in its field. For example, it designed the 1924 Bear Mountain Bridge for the Harriman family, which built it privately, and also designed and built both spans of the Beacon-Newburgh Bridge (Interstate 84). It strengthened the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge in 1912 so it could bear the weight of new NYNY&H 2-10-2 locomotives, and helped the Central New England and New Haven Railroads to maintain it properly for over 70 years. When the NYSBA went looking for an engineering firm, decades ago, it picked the best. It will be Modjeski and Masters that will perform a long-overdue, major inspection of the Poughkeepsie Bridge in CY2011.
  by lvrr325
I thought this thread was about parking to go on the bridge, not rants about the checkered ownership and history of the structure.

Although I do have to wonder, as an aside, if you're allowed to smoke on the bridge....
  by DonPevsner
Detailing the facts about ownership, maintenance and liability, plus a little history, is hardly a "rant". Since when are you the determinant of whether or not this thread is strictly limited to "parking"? Last I heard, Otto Vondrak has that authority, not you.
  by Noel Weaver
I don't know why an inspection is necessary at this point. Such stuff was done before it was decided to build the walkway in the first place. Of course there are attorneys
everywhere just waiting for something awlful to happen so that they can get a piece of the action (money).
It is correct though that this topic is about parking there. On that, I will be walking this historic bridge for the second time this coming Saturday, weather permitting, and will
try to provide an update after that time.
Noel Weaver
  by DonPevsner
An inspection is "necessary at this point" because John Bellucci, Director of Operations of the New York State Bridge Authority, told me so in a telephone conversation about ten days ago. I trust his opinion more than anyone involved with Walkway construction, or your own, personal opinion.
  by Benjamin Maggi
Noel Weaver wrote: Of course there are attorneys everywhere just waiting for something awlful to happen so that they can get a piece of the action (money). Noel Weaver
Even more disturbing:

1.) That some people would actually have the audacity to sue for money if a large, multi-ton steel structure- under the ownership and control of a large governmental entity with deep pockets- collapsed, bent, or otherwise injured them due to neglect of maintenance or other warnings of dangers.

2.) That some courts would ignore Defendants' Motions to Dismiss the case on grounds of lack of standing and instead would rule that the case could go forward on the merits of the Claimants' arguments- solely because they think that the Claimants were actually injured and should deserve some sort of compensation because of it.

3.) That some attorneys won't accept cases based on principal even though it might stretch out for years, resulting in their incurring of hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs without any guarantees of recovery, which could ultimately drain their financial resources, reducing the stability of their law firm, and in the process cause them to be unable to represent other needy clients and therefore actually let money (usually 1/3 of the total settlement) dictate their business practices.

These three groups of people are even worse then the attorneys who are just "waiting around for something awful to happen so that they can get a piece of the action (money.)" Yah, those attorneys who are just out for money are real Ambulance-chasing pirates! :wink:
  by Noel Weaver
There are some attorneys out whom have caused great damage to the railroad industry and to our hobby as well. Un-necessary lawsuits have caused at least a fair share of the
problems that railfans and railfan organizations have encountered in recent years. I am still getting letters from attorneys trying to get me to sue the railroad for hearing loss,
asbestos problems and other things. This even 12 years after my retirement. I don't know just where they have gotten my name and address from but I do not like it one bit.
One thing I have always believed in and that is that attorneys thrive on trouble, problems and misery, somebody else's that is.
Noel Weaver
  by Noel Weaver
Otto Vondrak wrote:I think we have thoroughly explored the issue of parking.
I am going down to Highland from Valatie (my August HQ) and will try to post something constructive after Saturday.
Noel Weaver
  by photorailfan
I was there at the bridge last weekend after catching a southbound ethanol train at kingston. I figure drive down 9w to chase it and shoot it from the bridge. It was my first experience there. There is a very small parking lot at the enterence but you have to pay 5 dollars for four hours and they use what looks like a mail box with tiny slits for you to fold and stuff bills into. The road that passes this lot though was filled with cars on one side. I would think then that there is plenty of parking so long as you get there early.
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